Vicente del Bosque could possibly have the easiest job in world football at the moment with the quality of players he has at his disposal. But while nobody can argue with Spain’s results in Euro 2012, with 9 goals scored and only 1 conceded from their 5 games so far, the same could not be said for their performances. Yes Spain will always have more possession of the ball then their opponent will and generally create more chances. But by flooding the midfield with 6 players are they damaging their performances.
Without doubt their midfield the strongest area of the squad. Especially when you take into account players like Mata, Pedro and Fabregas are not considered 1st choice in the starting XI. When you have players like Xavi, Iniesta, Alonso, Silva and Busquets playing in midfield, why is their a need to play a 6th midfielder? The 5 players already playing are probably the best in the world at holding possession and carving out chances. Playing another midfielder means they lack a vocal point for their attacks. When the opposing team gets men behind the ball in numbers 40 yards outside their goal, Spain need a player who will play high up the pitch, on the line of the defence making runs off the centre halves. This would straight away open up more space in midfield for players like Xavi, Iniesta and Silva to work their magic to create chances which a quality striker would thrive on.
Everybody knows Torres has had a torrid time in the last couple of years but as he proved against Ireland in the group stages, he will score when the opportunity arises. He may not be as technically gifted or as good a passer as the rest of the Spanish team, but what he offers is his willingness to stay as far forward as possible occupying both centre halves, as a result creating more space for the more creative players to flourish. By a team not playing a recognised centre forward, we will miss exciting battles between central defenders and centre forwards.
I hope clubs and other football nations don’t buy into this new formation of football as it will only deprive us of quality forward play, excitement and goals.
By Alan O’Brien
I see a lot of people on blog’s and other opinion websites giving out about the English team. Saying that this player shouldn’t be in the team and that player shouldn’t be even in the 23 man squad, and then offering up their own version of what team should be playing. But nobody has seemed to notice the biggest and in my opinion the most obvious problem with the English national team, for as long as i can remember.
This problem is one that most big footballing nations have been avoiding for a long time by just using their common footballing sense. For years England have put together a team comprised of 2 or 3 players from their top teams (Man Utd, Man City, Arsenal, Chelsea, Spurs & Liverpool) and jumble them altogether into a formation and style of football that the current manager prefers. All these players come from teams that play different formations and have different styles of football. Where as most of the other top European footballing countries base their team around a core of players from one team. For example Spain have Barcelona running through their core with Puyol, Pique, Busquets, Xavi, Iniesta, Fabregas and David Villa all first choice when fit. Same goes for Germany and Bayern with Neuer, Lahm, Badstuber, Schweinsteiger, Muller, Kroos and Gomez. Also Italy use Juventus’ core players; Buffon, Chiellini, Bonucci, Pirlo, Marchisio, Giaccherini.
A lot of these player would walk straight into any team but also some of these players wouldn’t. Take Busquets for example, a very important player in my opinion but I am sure their are plenty of people out there who wouldn’t have him in the team ahead of maybe Javi Martinez. But Del Bosque picks him every game, especially the big games. Not because he’s a world beater, but because he plays together with Xavi and Iniesta every week. The top international sides use a club team from their own nation as a template and they fit other good players around this core of players. They then play a similar and sometimes identical style to that of which their main club would play.
If England done this, they would play better football and do much better in tournaments. In my opinion England should base their future team around a core of players that are playing for one of these teams week in week out. The obvious choices are Man Utd or Man City. Man Utd have good English players in Jones, Smalling, Cleverly, Carrick, Young, Rooney & Wellbeck while Man City have Hart, Richards, Lescott, Barry, Johnson and Milner. A team based around these players would play a more possession orientated attacking style of football. That would not only entertain the fans of England but of other countries too.
By Alan O’Brien